The General Assembly is back in session today for what’s supposed to be a one-day meeting to address the effects of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that governs how prosecutors handle lab evidence in drug and drunken driving cases.
The special session could be short on actual business and long on pontificating and politicking. I’ll try to keep a running tally of what’s happening after the jump.
*The session comes just hours after Gov. Tim Kaine announced that the state will have to close a $1.5 billion budget gap in 2010.
*Valley Republicans Steve Landes, Chris Saxman, Ben Cline and Matt Lohr plan to introduce a bill that would require the governor to re-open the 18 interstate rest areas shuttered earlier this year due to budget problems. Could cause procedural fight between Republicans and Democrats.
*The rest stop proposal is essentially dead, killed on a procedural move. The leadership of both houses had agreed that the Supreme Court issue would be the sole focus of this session.
*Lawmakers spent part of the time on the House floor commending delegates Chris Saxman (R-Staunton), Kris Amundson (D-Mount Vernon) and Bob Hull (D-Fairfax) who are all leaving the General Assembly. Saxman and Amundson are retiring, Hull lost a Democratic primary.
*UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. — The Senate has passed the Melendez-Diaz bill 36-0.
*Update 5:15 p.m. — The House has passed the Melendez-Diaz bill 90-0.
*Update, 5:42 p.m. — The House and Senate have adjourned sine die.